When you are nineteen years old and studying abroad, you on occasion find yourself doing a stupid thing or five. It’s like, in the study abroad contract: “I will become culturally enriched, visit new and exciting places, and make a jackass of myself at every possible opportunity.” Like, for example, I had a friend who got her passport stolen in a club by a drunk midget. I don’t want to get into it, but that was a thing.
Me? I almost knocked some guy off a cliff.
so, like. four years ago today i came back from studying abroad at kasteel well, the netherlands.
and i’ve posted about this before so excuse the tl;dr-ness of this but i am sort of flabbergasted at the idea that four years have passed since the most magical time i have ever had. because it feels at once as though it was yesterday and at the same time almost as if it happened to some other person who lived some other life. there is a bench on the grounds of the castle that some group of kids long before my time painted over, and a line written across the front of it reads, “travel above all was a test of memory.”
it’s been four years, so the immediacy has passed, and to say “i miss it” wouldn’t exactly be correct, because it’s not like i wake up every day and ache about it. but my memories of the hundred days i spent as an incredibly lucky nineteen year old kid living in a castle and stumbling my way through western europe without the burden of Life on my shoulders are still clear and fresh and vivid and colorful.
& of course, as much as i have returned a changed person and someone who made the best decision of his life when he said, “yeah, I’m going to the castle,” a little part of me will always be that kid who danced with abandon to miley’s see you again on top of a table in a tiny bar on a foreign continent where he only knew 80 people and was reckless and carefree and stupid and learned so much about everything and nothing, but all of it was important.
because let’s face it. that kid was really awesome. cheers, y’all. dank u wel.
the kasteel well program was just ranked as one of the top 10 study abroad programs. it’s hard to believe that it’s been almost four years since i spent the best four months of my life living in this castle in the netherlands.
so, uh, dank u wel, emerson.